Adoptable Storage and Why The Latest Flagships Don’t Support It

Adoptable Storage set-up

One of the lesser-known features of Android Marshmallow is adoptable storage—that is, the ability to extend the internal memory of your phone with removable media.

Adoptable storage is intended to make your memory card a permanent addition to your phone. If you choose the option you see in the screen grab here, your card will be reformatted and you’ll be unable to transfer files to any other device. Read/write speeds may also be affected, depending on what your card can handle. Why would anyone want this? It’s likely intended for cheaper Android One hardware in developing markets, which tend to have smaller available options for storage. It might also come in handy for that cheap Android TV set-top box you got on eBay.

But when it comes to the hero phones revealed at this year’s Mobile World Congress, both LG and Samsung have decided not to support adoptable storage on their Marshmallow-powered flagships.

Android Central discovered that the feature was missing from the LG G5; Ars Technica found that Samsung had also dropped the feature from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Here’s what they had to say about it:

Samsung decided not to use the Android Marshmallow “adoptable storage” model. We believe that our users want a microSD card to transfer files between their phone and other devices (laptop, tablet, etc), especially the photos and videos they shoot with the camera.

With adoptable storage, first of all the card may be erased the first time it is inserted into the device. This behavior may be unexpected by many users and we don’t want our users to lose their files. Second, once Marshmallow starts using a card for adoptable storage, it cannot be read by other devices, so it loses this ability to be used for file transfer. Adoptable Storage is also primarily targeted towards emerging markets where devices with only 4-8GB of onboard storage are common. We think that our model of using microSD for mass storage is more in-line with our owner’s desires and expectations for how microSD should behave.

This makes sense until you realize that, according to GSMArena and Mobile Syrup, only the 32 GB models of the S7 and S7 edge will be available in the US and Canada. With microSD cards getting bigger, faster and cheaper adoptable storage would be a great option for these phones.

Or do you agree with Samsung that it’s not what its customers want?

Sources: Android Central, Ars Technica, GSMArena, Mobile Syrup

Leave a Reply